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Slovenia applying for EU funds for second track

Slovenia is making a new attempt to get funding for the Koper-Divača rail upgrade from the EU's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). In a submission to be made today, Slovenia will try to get EUR 33.4m from its own envelope and EUR 35m from the funds left from other cohesion countries.

 

The latest plan for tapping into the EU funds was presented to reporters in Ljubljana today by Infrastructure Minister Peter Gašperšič. He said Slovenia would vie for the funds in the call for the preparatory works for the second rail track between the port of Koper and the inland hub of Divača and for project documentation for the track itself.

 

Apart from the funding available in its own national envelope, Slovenia also hopes to win funds from the envelope pooling together the funds not distributed in the national envelops of other countries. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday.

 

In implementing the second track project, Slovenia is counting on obtaining some EUR 250m in EU funds, so the Infrastructure Ministry is also preparing to apply for the upcoming mixed mechanism call, combining funds from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and cohesion funds.

 

The call for the financing of European core transport networks is expected to be published on Wednesday with the deadline for submissions expected to be in June.

 

Gašperšič said that EU funding was vital for the financial sustainability of the project, noting that even in case of failure in any of the calls, certain manoeuvring ground was still possible, including through changes in share capital, also through increased borrowing.

 

"We are definitely optimistic that with the work started on these two expected calls we will get the desired amount of funding," he said.

 

The government last year incorporated a special purpose vehicle called 2TDK to prepare everything for the construction of the second rail track to the port of Koper.

 

The Infrastructure Ministry has published a call for project documentation for preparatory works, which is open until June. After that it will also publish a call for the implementation of these works, so that work could begin in the autumn.

 

In the meantime, Gašperšič said work would continue on the project, implementing and tender documentation for the track with a tender for the implementation of construction works on the track expected to be out in the autumn. These works could also start by the end of this year.

 

In all the track's construction is to take a good six years.

 

Apart from EU cohesion funds, the key elements of the financial plan of the project, estimated at over EUR 1bn, are also loans from the European Investment Bank and capital investments by Slovenia and hinterland countries.

 

Letters in support of the project have already been signed by Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.